Michael Mosley: An egg-cellent breakfast © Maxim Usik

Michael Mosley: An egg-cellent breakfast

Eggs aren’t as bad as we’ve been led to believe, despite what the headlines say.

Recently, I saw a newspaper headline which claimed that ‘Eating as few as three eggs a week raises risk of heart disease’.

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These headlines were based on a study published in the journal JAMA where researchers followed 29,000 Americans who had filled in food questionnaires decades ago. Over that time quite a few had died.

When the researchers compared the food questionnaires with what happened to those people, they concluded that eating an extra half-egg a day increased the risk of developing heart disease by 6 per cent.

As someone who eats eggs most mornings, am I worried by these findings? Not at all. Here are the reasons why.

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First of all, the old idea that eggs are bad for you because they contain cholesterol is now widely recognised as a myth. The cholesterol that you eat has almost no effect on your blood cholesterol levels (most of the cholesterol in your body is produced by your liver).

Second, a major weakness of this particular study was the fact that they collected data about people’s egg-eating habits only once, at the start of the study. The group was followed for an average of 17 years and it is wildly unlikely that during that time they kept to the same sort of diet.

But perhaps, most importantly, we know that the findings of this study are flatly contradicted by the results of other, bigger studies.

Read more about eggs:

First, there’s the Nurses’ Health and Health Professionals’ Study, which involved more than 118,000 people. This research found no link between eggs and risk of heart disease or death. An even bigger study, involving more than 3,000,000 adults, published in the British Medical Journal a couple of years ago, came to exactly the same conclusion. This is why the NHS says, “There is no recommended limit on how many eggs people should eat.”

A big study from China, involving over 500,000 people, was recently published in the journal Heart. Reassuringly, it found that people who eat eggs every day have an 18 per cent lower risk of dying from heart disease and a 28 per cent lower risk of dying from stroke than people who never eat eggs.

Eggs are a great source of protein (which will fill you up) and contain small amounts of almost every vitamin and mineral required by the human body. A single egg has decent amounts of vitamin B12, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin A and selenium.

Eggs are also low in calories (around 80 calories an egg). Whether you boil them, scramble them, or whisk up an omelette, they are a cracking way to start the day.


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